By Ioanna Tzanavari

The coastal zone is one of the most important socio-economic and environmental areas on a global scale, supporting a number of activities such as tourism, agriculture, fishing, while many coastal ecosystems are of great ecological and environmental importance.

Coastline change is a dynamic process in the coastal zone that may be due to long-term or short-term processes, such as the movement of tectonic plates or some extreme weather phenomenon, respectively, and to anthropogenic or natural causes. The main natural factors that contribute to coastline changes are geology - coastal geomorphology, climate, hydrographic network and vegetation, while marine structures and other coastal protection structures are included to the anthropogenic factors. These changes can often have devastating social, economic and ecological consequences within the coastal zone, leading to loss of life, property, agricultural land and destruction of natural resources and habitats.

The mapping of coastlines and the detection of their changes are therefore vital not only for the protection of coastal structures from erosion and other processes that alter coastal stability, but also for the sustainable development and planning of coastal areas, safe navigation, management and protection of coastal resources and the overall environmental management of a coastal ecosystem.

Rapid technological development in recent years has led to the development of increasingly modern and innovative Geoinformatics tools. Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Remote Sensing have contributed to the integrated management of the coastal zone by providing cost-effective and efficient tools for mapping coastline changes, giving reliable and at the same time qualitative results.

In particular, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry have been used in a widespread manner in order to monitor coastline changes in the coastal zone. The use of Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry is much more practical today compared to topographic measurements and the use of aerial photographs used in the past. After all, a change of coastline is easily perceived by evaluating satellite images for different time intervals and in the long run for a given study area.

Combining data from remote sensing and traditional methods showing the location of a coastline in the past and at present, one can identify how the coastline has evolved over the years and understand why coastal stability is changing but also potentially how the negative effects of coastal erosion and other processes can be reduced (sediment deposition, sea level rise due to climate change, tidal phenomena, etc.).


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  • TEMİZ F. and DURDURAN S., 2016. Monitoring Coastline Change Using Remote Sensing and GIS Technology: A case study of Acıgöl Lake, Turkey. Turkey, IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 44 (2016) 042033, DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/44/4/042033.